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Summary

  1. A call for work to begin now to prepare for another referendum on EU membership is backed by AMs
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd
  3. Questions to the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language
  4. Questions to the Assembly Commission
  5. Debate on the Public Accounts Committee report on the NHS Wales Informatics Services
  6. Plaid Cymru debate - Prisons and Criminal Justice
  7. Debate - The Prospects for a Brexit Deal Following the House of Commons Vote
  8. Short Debate: life online

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

  1. 'Doctored pictures, doctored lives'

    The topic chosen by Bethan Sayed (South Wales West) for the Short Debate is "Doctored pictures, doctored lives. Is life online and in popular culture harming our reality?"

    She says, "do we need to introduce more regulation on the internet? That is the perennial question. Do we need to stop people from doctoring images? Do we need to regulate the Facebooks and the Googles of this world?

    "I would say 'yes', because they have a social responsibility. And choice may come into it; we can choose not to go onto the social media platforms, but the adverts do follow us wherever we go. And that's the reality of the lives that we lead."

    Bethan Sayed
  2. No deal outcome would be 'catastrophic for Wales'

    The joint motion by the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru is passed, with 37 for, no abstentions and 14 against. So the National Assembly for Wales:

    1. Condemns the UK Government for its failure to engage in meaningful negotiations on the EU withdrawal deal on a cross-party basis and in terms of genuine engagement with the devolved institutions.

    2. Reiterates its view that a no deal outcome would be catastrophic for Wales and believes that the UK Government and UK Parliament must do everything in their power to prevent no deal, including requesting an extension of the Article 50 deadline.

    3. Believes if, as it now seems, the UK Parliament cannot unite around an alternative proposition which includes participation in the single market and a customs union then the only option which remains is to give the decision back to the people; and believes that work should begin immediately on preparing for a public vote.

    4. Believes the UK Parliament should, with immediate effect, step up its engagement with the devolved legislatures on these issues.

    vote
  3. 'We know people don't want hard Brexit'

    Former first minister Carwyn Jones quotes Laurel and Hardy, stating Westminster politicians have got us into "a fine mess".

    "I must remember the next time I buy a car to go back and say 'I want to renegotiate the price because I'm not happy with the price I paid'."

    He adds "we know in 2017 people rejected a hard Brexit in a general election, so we know people don't want that".

    Carwyn Jones
  4. Second referendum would be 'a failure of our democracy'

    Labour AM for Caerphilly Hefin David says holding a second referendum would be "a failure of our democracy".

  5. 'Lies told in referendum led directly to the undermining of our politics'

    Former minister Alun Davies says "it was the lies told in that referendum which has led directly to the undermining of our politics and the situation we are in today," and refers to the red bus promising money for the NHS.

  6. 'Slight shift in a cautious journey'

    Felicity Evans

    BBC Wales Political Editor

    Quote Message: Today’s motion in the Senedd marks another slight shift in a cautious journey by First Minister, Mark Drakeford. He’s under pressure from some in Welsh Labour to throw his weight behind a further Brexit referendum. As the departure date of March 29th looms, without any sign of deal, the pressure increases – especially since he has described a no deal departure as a “catastrophe” for the Welsh economy. Plaid Cymru has been piling on the pressure too. And after talks with them last night, this joint motion calls for preparations for a public vote to begin “immediately”. But it doesn’t call for a public vote to happen right now. That’s important for the First Minister because it allows him to stick (just about) to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s position, which is to keep the referendum option open without actually supporting it. But Mr Drakeford’s direction of travel seems clear and he’s moving faster than the UK Labour position. Will they catch up? Will he slow down? Or will he divert from the official route?"
  7. 'The only deal on the table'

    The Conservatives have not presented an amendment to the motion, but Conservative Darren Millar says "what the prime minister has been doing, and consistently been doing, has been fighting hard to make sure we have a deal.

    "It is the only deal on the table."

    He says the Welsh Government has repeatedly said it "respects the result of the referendum", yet is now calling for preparations for another referendum, which he says would be "an utter betrayal".

    Darren Millar
  8. 'Only real choice is a no-deal Brexit or a people’s vote'

    Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price says "we've gone from gridlock to Groundhog Day repeatedly through this whole sorry saga, and we'll be there again in two weeks.

    "The can has been kicked so often can-kicking should become a national sport."

    He says the prime minister has "just committed the mother of all u-turns".

    He adds, "the only real choice is a no-deal Brexit or a people’s vote".

    Adam Price
  9. 'No-deal the strongest weapon Britain ever had'

    UKIP's Neil Hamilton says "I regret we are in this unpalatable situation today but we are never going to be able to deliver on the result of the referendum on the basis of taking no-deal off the table because that is the strongest weapon Britain ever had".

  10. 'Prime minister's next dash to Brussels looks pretty much doomed'

    Brexit minister Jeremy Miles repeats calls for a no-deal Brexit to be taken off the table.

    "There is an assumption in Westminster that we can get very close to the wire and then demand an extension to Article 50.

    "This is a very dangerous assumption."

    He asks "can we blame our European partners if they're exasperated by what they've seen in the past few weeks?"

    He predicts that "the prime minister's next dash to Brussels looks pretty much doomed".

    He says the Welsh Government "condemn the UK government for failing to see the need to establish common ground across the political divide for the long term", pointing to the joint Welsh Government-Plaid Cymru white paper Securing Wales' Future.

    Jeremy Miles
  11. 'Only option which remains is to give the decision back to the people'

    We move on to debate a motion submitted jointly by the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

    It propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

    1. Condemns the UK Government for its failure to engage in meaningful negotiations on the EU withdrawal deal on a cross-party basis and in terms of genuine engagement with the devolved institutions.

    2. Reiterates its view that a no deal outcome would be catastrophic for Wales and believes that the UK Government and UK Parliament must do everything in their power to prevent no deal, including requesting an extension of the Article 50 deadline.

    3. Believes if, as it now seems, the UK Parliament cannot unite around an alternative proposition which includes participation in the single market and a customs union then the only option which remains is to give the decision back to the people; and believes that work should begin immediately on preparing for a public vote.

    4. Believes the UK Parliament should, with immediate effect, step up its engagement with the devolved legislatures on these issues.

    Brexit
  12. Ruling out the construction of further ‘super prisons’

    The Welsh Government amendment is to call for:

    a) the ruling out of the construction of further ‘super prisons’ on any site in Wales and calls on Welsh Government to communicate this opposition to the Ministry of Justice;

    b) the full re-unification of the probation service and an end to partial privatisation;

    c) a focus on community-based approaches for non-violent crimes and an end to the overuse of shorter prison sentences;

    d) an end to custodial sentences for young people and women other than in exceptional circumstances; and

    e) the right to vote for prisoners in Welsh elections.

    Plans for a super-prison in Port Talbot were withdrawn after strong objections in the community
    Image caption: Plans for a super-prison in Port Talbot were withdrawn after strong objections in the community
  13. 'Error of judgement' by the Welsh Government

    Former minister Alun Davies says it is an "error of judgement" by the Welsh Government to seek to amend the Plaid Cymru motion.

    He says "we cannot deliver social justice unless we support the devolution of the criminal justice system".

    Alun Davies
  14. 'Rehabilitative services, community sentences and reducing reoffending'

    Conservative Mark Isherwood notes the "focus by the Ministry of Justice on rehabilitative services, community sentences and reducing reoffending".

    Mark Isherwood
  15. 'Most common foreign nationalities being Polish, Albanian, Irish and Romanian'

    UKIP's Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central) says that "according to the Ministry of Justice, in October 2018, 11 percent of the total prison population in England and Wales were foreign nationals, with the most common foreign nationalities being Polish, Albanian, Irish and Romanian."

    He says UKIP believes that:

    a) the prison service should be adequately funded and prison officers adequately paid;

    b) all prisoners should be in the custody of officers of the Crown answerable to UK Government Ministers and not private companies;

    c) the Welsh Government should work with the UK Government to reverse privatisation of the prison system;

    d) foreign criminals should be deported to serve their sentences in their own countries, and such criminals should be banned from re-entering the UK;

    e) new prisons should be built as necessary throughout the UK to accommodate the number of persons convicted of imprisonable crimes.

  16. Call for full devolution of criminal justice

    Plaid Cymru calls for:

    a) the full devolution of criminal justice to Wales;

    b) the ruling out of the construction of further ‘super prisons’ on any site in Wales and calls on Welsh Government to communicate this opposition to the Ministry of Justice;

    c) the full re-unification of the probation service and an end to partial privatisation;

    d) a focus on community-based approaches for non-violent crimes and an end to the overuse of shorter prison sentences;

    e) an end to custodial sentences for young people and women other than in exceptional circumstances;

    f) the right to vote for prisoners in Welsh elections.

    Prison
  17. Plaid Cymru debate

    The topic chosen by Plaid Cymru for their debate is prisons and criminal justice.

    Plaid Cymru refer to new research which claims that Wales has the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe.

    The Wales Governance Centre's analysis of official figures also reveals average custody rates are higher than in England for a number of different groups and offences.

    In particular, non-white Welsh prisoners are overrepresented in prison. The report also shows:

    • The total number of prison sentences handed out in England dropped by 16% between 2010 and 2017; at the same time they rose by 0.3% in Wales
    • Immediate custodial sentences imposed by magistrates rose by 12% in Wales.
    • Women in Wales are more likely to receive short-term custodial sentences than men, with 78.6% jailed for less than 12 months, compared with 67% of men.
    • White offenders in Wales were given the lowest average immediate custodial sentence length in 2017 (13.2 months), while black offenders recorded the highest average sentence length (21.5 months), followed by Asian (19 months) and mixed race (17.7 months).
    • But Wales handed out shorter sentences to offenders than in England, with the average prison sentence being 13.4 months, compared with 17.2 months in England in 2017.
    • And a higher percentage of sentences of four years or more were also handed out in England.
    An average rate for the prison population in western European countries shows England, Scotland and Wales at the top
    Image caption: An average rate for the prison population in western European countries shows England, Scotland and Wales at the top
  18. All five committee recommendations accepted

    Health Secretary Vaughan Gething says the Welsh Government is committed to "accelerating digital change" and accepts all five committee recommendations.

    The Welsh Government's response can be seen in full here.

    Vaughan Gething
  19. 'Alarmed' by evidence

    The committee said they were "particularly concerned" to hear about the impact of outages on patient experience and staff morale at Cardiff's Velindre Hospital, although witnesses assured the committee no patients had come to harm during the IT failures.

    The cancer IT system, CaNISC, was highlighted as a particular problem, with the report stating committee members were "alarmed" by evidence Microsoft stopped providing support for the system in 2014 and it posed a cyber security risk.

    However, AMs acknowledged "funding is stretched", with NWIS trying to keep its existing system going while under pressure to deliver new ones.

    The committee's inquiry followed a report by the Auditor General for Wales, which concluded that plans to digitise patients' NHS records in Wales face significant delays.

    Cardiff's Velindre Hospital
    Image caption: Cardiff's Velindre Hospital